Jewellery and silver from the second half of the 20th Century stole the hearts of bidders at Dreweatts & Bloomsbury Auctions
last week, proving the collectability and huge international demand for works of this type in the current market.
A comprehensive collection of Gerald Benney, silver led the Fine Silver auction that opened the bidding in a day of Luxury sales. The whole collection, which included wine coolers, mustard dishes and candle holders, amongst other items, was commissioned by the owner after he moved back to the UK to settle in a Georgian village house in Berkshire, from which he and his wife wanted to entertain guests with a modern, yet elegant dining room service. The classically stylish pieces appealed to a wide range of collectors, with the opening lot of a silver court pattern table service for 12 achieving £10,540 [Lot 22].
Pieces by the contemporary gold and silversmith, Stuart Devlin, continued to demonstrate their lasting value. He was renowned for the limited edition works he produced in the 70s and 80s after moving to his workshop in London, all such pieces in the auction exceeded their pre-sale estimates with a Churchill centenary cigar box, dated London 1974 selling for £3,472 [Lot 39] and a silver parcel gilt Royal Silver Wedding anniversary surprise sphere achieving £496 [Lot 42].
Collectors of 20th century artists jewellery fought for pieces by revolutionary Italian jeweller Mario Masenza and Anglo-Italian designer Andrew Grima. The international markets were particularly receptive and drove prices beyond estimate for a gem set clip brooch by Italian painter Afro Basadella for Masenza which sold for £5,580 [Lot 600] and another by Sicilian sculptor Franco Cannilla also for Masenza that achieved £4,340 [Lot 599].
A highly desirable and stylish 1960s amethyst ring by Andrew Grima, doubled its pre-sale estimate selling for £2,356 [Lot 589].
Bidding soared for the 1913 Ascot Gold Vase, a silver gilt twin handled trophy cup and cover by R. & S. Garrard & Co. which sold for £22,320, far exceeding its top estimate. The trophy was purchased on behalf of a private client. [Lot 64]
The sale also saw the desire for Russian silver continue on an upward trend with all pieces selling above estimate to Russian buyers. Of particular note was a Russian silver and enamel spoon by Ivan Petrovich Khlebnikov, which sold for £4,960 [Lot 128]
Prices for works by the doyen of arts & crafts silverware, Omar Ramsden, were also in high demand with a hammered silver shaped oval twin handled tray selling for £8,060 [Lot 52] and a silver long navette twin handled dish selling for £3,472 [Lot 53]. Both were engraved with his trademark Omar Ramsden Me Fecit, latin for Omar Ramsden made me, reminiscent of the signatures on classical vases and pottery from Ancient Greece.
The sale was held at Dreweatts & Bloomsbury Auctions Donnington Priory saleroom on Wednesday 9th July 2014.